A fun, new addition to DPL’s Western History and Genealogy Department is Toast and Its Various Uses , an informative recipe booklet published by the Denver Bread Company in 1924.
Toast is perhaps best known for its prominent role at the breakfast table, but this booklet endorses toast as the perfect main dish at any meal. Welsh Rarebit Toast and Creamed Chipped Beef on Toast are recommended for luncheon. For dinner, Toast Omelet and Toast Chowder are promised to delight diners. But what to make for dessert? Toasted Brown Betty (a baked pudding with spiced fruit and buttered bread crumbs) and Chocolate Toast Pudding, of course.
While this recipe booklet promoted the use of the Denver Bread Company’s products, it also acknowledged rather recent technological advancements in toastmaking. The first electric toaster was sold by Crompton & Co. in Great Britain in 1893. These early toasters lacked timers, outer casings, and the ability to toast both sides of a slice of bread simultaneously. In 1919, American Walter Strite remedied this situation when he filed a patent for an automatic, pop-up toaster. In 1921, Strite’s patent was approved, and in 1926 Toastmaster began selling domestic toasters in the United States. Shortly thereafter in 1928, U.S. bakeries began offering customers a toaster-friendly product: pre-sliced bread.
In 1916, the Denver Bread Company first appeared in Denver’s city directory as a bakery located at 39 South Pearl Street . The company moved to a more modern facility at 600 W. 12th Avenue by 1918. The Denver Bread Company prided itself on its cleanliness. Toast And Its Various Uses describes how the business sold its products:
The pleasant salesman brings to your door every day a basket containing a variety of bread, rolls, cookies, and cakes. You inspect his wares, choose those you want and never leave your door. You get bakery goods that are not handled by customers and clerks nor placed in contact with vegetables or other contaminating products.
By 1945, the Denver Bread Company was no longer. Toast and Its Various Uses, available for viewing in DPL’s Western History and Genealogy Department , serves as a reminder of a time when bakeries made deliveries, toast was a new convenience food, and the phrase “the greatest thing since sliced bread” wasn’t in the American lexicon.